If you were the coach of a baseball team, you wouldn't put your team out on the field without practicing, right? The same strategy applies to trade shows; you shouldn't send your exhibit staff out onto the show floor without pre-show training. But what fundamentals should you include in your pre-show conditioning? We've broken it down into five key topics to ensure your staff is ready to step up to bat and, ultimately, hit a home run.

Key elements to include in pre-show training are:

Why are we here? Kick off by stating your objectives. Common goals create high functioning teams, so make sure everyone understands the goal and how you will measure success. Within the athletic realm, it's simple. Teams strive for a win and the score defines success. However, the mission may be less obvious for trade show programs. Whether the objective is promoting a new product, increasing brand awareness, or collecting qualified leads that will convert to sales—success will be solidified when each and every team member understands the game plan and the metrics that you're collecting to determine your program's effectiveness.

Messaging and marketing elements. You wouldn't send a batter up to the plate without a bat, so don't send your staff into your exhibit without the knowledge they need to be successful. Promoting a new product? Make sure your staff has a strong grip of the product's overview and its prime benefits. Hosting a cocktail party after the show? Provide staff with all the relevant details about your target audience to guarantee that they are promoting it to the right attendees during the show. And lastly, what takeaways do you want attendees to remember after leaving your space? Whatever it may be, give every team member the same talking points to be sure that they are all delivering the same message! 

Overall booth etiquette. A winning exhibit presence relies on more than your verbal message. Body language is the first way that staff interacts with attendees. It's important to educate your team about what behaviors to avoid, including folding arms, chewing gum, leaning against counters, and texting. Our training team loves presenting pictures we've taken on the show floor of what you DON'T want your staff to look like—this brings humor into the meeting and also makes your team think, "Okay, I don't want to be the person in that photo!"

Interactive technology. Are you using a lead retrieval system? Do you have touch screen programs to educate your attendees? If so, chances are you spent a good chunk of change on the system, so you want to make sure your staff knows how to navigate it. If they aren't proficient, they'll avoid using it—and both you and your attendees will miss out. Or they may try using it and flounder, which reflects poorly on your company.

Pep talk. Pre-show training shouldn't be simply "do this" and "don't do that." Be sure to exude positivity and enthusiasm throughout the experience, ending the meeting on a high note that sends your staff away feeling excited about the opportunity.

By incorporating these tactics into your pre-show training, your exhibit staff will load the bases and your show will be a GRAND SLAM!

Interested in having our training experts facilitate your pre-show meeting? Contact scoupland@3dexhibits.com for more information.